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Team 21: Stuart Bedford – Opening My Eyes For The First Time

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I’m still amazed by just how quickly a laser eye surgeon can change your life…

My surgery was over so quickly, I almost laughed when they said it was over, thinking it was some kind of surgeons’ in joke. But no, it was over.

I have to admit, my vision was clouded at first and on the walk back to my lift home, I struggled to keep my eyes open, they were just so unbelievably light-sensitive. And after a few relatively uncomfortable hours’ sleep (which is to be expected), I awoke to find the soreness already subsiding and I could perceive the results of the surgery even just lying in my bedroom.

Now there was still misting to my vision at this stage, you understand, but while there was still this imperceptible cloud, there was also a stark clarity; preciseness to the edges in my bedroom where before there was constant blurring; definition where before there was only softness. It was, basically, exactly like wearing my glasses.

I’ll be honest, the surgery seemed to take it out of me and since I was advised against looking at a monitor (which anyone who knows me’ll tell you is pretty much all I do) it wasn’t long before I was ready for my bed. I honestly thought I’d struggle to sleep in the goggles that Optical Express provided me with (to stop me rubbing my eyes mid-sleep) but no, I dropped straight off.

Bright new dawn

Now here’s where it started to get fun. The next morning, I awoke to be greeted with what I can only describe as vision so crisp it was like opening my eyes for the first time ever; like I’d never properly opened my eyes until that morning. And it improved even more after I’d yanked off the goggles!

I looked out of the window as excitedly as I would have done if someone had run into the room shouting “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” Now, my unassuming council house in Skelmersdale, Lancashire (near Liverpool) doesn’t boast the most commanding of views but let me just say, a dual carriageway has never looked so crisp and so clear, certainly not to me, without the aid of a strip of plastic strapped to my ears.

I’ve never actually been excited about the prospect of an eye exam before, but my follow up appointment was that very same morning and I was actually looking forward to being driven there, to the prospect of taking in the sights I’d now be able to enjoy unaided.

I was still a little light sensitive and so I, quite ironically I might add, wore my sunglasses (50p from Primark on the day – bargain!) on the trip. The improvement after eye surgery can be relatively gradual, taking place over a number of days after the surgery; I could tell my peepers still had a little way to go but I really could see an astonishing improvement even then.

In fact, I believe that I actually, for the first time ever, had the best vision out of all those I was travelling with. And here’s how I know: As we made our way along the M57 toward Liverpool, I pointed to a white lorry, far along the road in the opposite carriageway and said, “I can even see that lorry all the way over there.”

“What lorry?” my Dad asked.

“I can’t see a lorry”, agreed my partner, Sophie.

All I could do was smile and say, “Exactly.”

Seconds later, they both saw it. Now I’m not gloating, but let me just say – speaking as someone who’s known for his comically terrible vision – that was an exchange I’ll never forget.

Case closed. The surgery was a complete success. By now (exactly one week later at time of writing) my vision has completely righted itself. I have no pain or discomfort whatsoever and apart from some very slight bruising to my left eye beneath the lid (a normal by-product of the surgery), you’d never even know I’d had it done.

Thanks Optical Express, you fixed my eyesight and for that you have my eternal gratitude!

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